Menghai Tea Factory(obtained from mandala tea)

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Recent Tasting Notes

Brews a dark coffee brown. So sweet, rich and delicious! Hard to describe but completely smooth and mellow.
The last of a sample from a tea friend last year – thank you for sending this – I loved it!

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This classic Menghai Dayi blend is a lighter fermentation shou and considered a standard setter. It does a good job of delivering on the typical characteristics of the well known Dayi factory shous – blend of larger and smaller leaves and pieces, dark reddish brown tea soup, appealing smooth and mellow sip with rich flavor, woody sweet aftertaste, good durability for resteeps. Already six years of aging but it has the strength of character to continue to improve with age.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I had a really nice session with this last night. The sweet date/raisin notes are nice, and the Shou is smooth. I got more sweetness from smelling the lid of my gaiwan! I really like this one, but the cake is so tightly compressed, it’s intimidating. I broke more off than I needed last night just so I wouldn’t have to next time. It was kind of therapeutic, ha!

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This is probably the oldest puerh I’ve tried so far. It had such great reviews and was very affordable, so I picked up a cake in my last order. It comes beautifully packaged…almost didn’t want to break the seal and keep it that way like my husband likes to do with some of his collectors items. I used to think that was ridiculous, but I can see it now (don’t tell him!). ;)

I had a really rough time picking pieces off this cake to brew….and yes, there was blood, from my little pinky! I also ripped the nice paper! Nooo! Note to self: get a puerh breaking tray.

This brews up super dark. The minute I poured water over the leaves I got this hit of sweet raisin in the aroma! Ooooh!

The taste is smooth and dark and the sweet raisin/date notes come in at the end of the sip in the aftertaste. Yum!

Definitely more dominant sweetness of raisin and dates in the 5th steep. So good. Very glad to have this in my cupboard, but I’m a little scared for my next cake breaking session!


Do you have a pu pick? I have a pu knife and pu pick and sometimes I need to use both when its very tightly compressed. Pls be careful. I once stubbed myself with steak knife. After that I got a pick. Yea tray helps too


No, I’ve been using a cheese pick thing. I have a proper pick on my wishlist. Oh, and a tray! ;)


Yah this is a good shou.

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another day….another puerh. :) This one comes from Boychik I chose this one to drink today, while i putter around the house getting ready for this afternoon’s meet up. Bonny is visiting here so a few of us are getting together this afternoon to hang out. :)

So far this has been a really smooth journey. This isn’t BOLD, in your face sort of puerh…it’s a mellow, soothing, relaxing sort of drink. more to come likely once i get home.


glad you liked it. have fun!


i’m just glad i’ve had a chance to actually drink the rest of the samples you sent me without feeling rushed heh. Still thinking about the cake from yesterday… noms.


I had a sample today which blew my mind. The color and clarity, and flavors like baking spices. It’s 2007 GuMingXiang Nannuo
The samples of pu ppl sharing w/me are too good. I want them all. Hubby tested this Nannuo and said good. Let me tell you man till recently was saying tea is a tea. Give me some sugar!


Tell Bonnie we have missed her on here..


heh realised i typed bonnIE when i meant BonnY…aka vacounver bonny not to be confused with colorado bonnie. eep! so confusing. we had a great time though. Kitenna; Indigobloom; myself and Bonny all managed to meet up. Cavo and VariaTEA coulldn’t make it unfortunately :(

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Delicious shou! Completely funk-free with some nice raisin notes. Very nice stuff :)


funk free is always important


don’t you want to get down in funkytown?


lol…I enjoy funkytown just not in my shou! ;)


They tend to lose the “funk” as they age. Some producers "hold"their tea to market to allow some of this to dissipate. This is a really nice one.

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Yummy yummy. Menghai makes some good tea.

I tell you what, I think this might be the best Shou I’ve tasted so far. There’s different kind of Shou for different kind of folks.

For me, this is what I like. No funkiness, very little wood, slight hit of sweetness, smooth and creamy.

Wet leaves are just like freshly polished shoe leather. You get a little bit of that in the flavor. Cake is real tight but I got off a nice couple chunks with a knife.

This is all good and a quality product from Mandala.

Flavors: Creamy, Leather, Raisins

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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YUM! boychik has sent me some of the best shus!

This one is smooth and SWEET. It is lightly earthy and has a dark fruity note floating around. I did a long-ish steep and I’m really enjoying the bold flavor :)

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Thanks to mrmopar for this sample. It’s a mellow and woody tea with a hint of cinnamon. The liquor is rich and dark, like coffee. There is some earthiness there, and no off flavours at all. I would say that this is a very comfortable tea to drink, and I have been very comfortable drinking it since yesterday.

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I believe Bonnie wrote the definitive tasting note on this one two years ago. As I was writing my own review for my blog I kept noticing how nearly identical my experience was to hers – minus the sexy dating analogy (wow, hot stuff). For me this was a necessary session to overcome yesterday’s over indulgences. Way over did it. This one helped calm the stomach and left me with a pleasant calming peace that was remarkable spiritual like. I have never thought to actually use puerh in my private devotion time but maybe I will give it a go one day soon. Anyway, starts mellow with mineral, cedar, and horse tack notes. Blossoms later with bold flavors of browned cedar and horse tack. Then drifts back into more mellow but pronounced mineral and cedar, and ending with pleasant leather notes. Excellent cha qi.




Yum Yum!


1 Timothy 6:17 …. the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. Pu-erh counts!

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i enjoyed this tea for 2 days.
100ml gaiwan 5g 212F
Rinse, rest, 5/5/10/10/15/15/20/20/ etc
Wet leaves smell of prunes and apricots. this tea is very clean, burgundy clear, no off taste . It is sweet with some spice notes,maybe like cinnamon. had a tingling sensation. Also this tea is very creamy. call me crazy but i can compare all those notes to plum pudding.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Sounds wonderful :)


Did you say Plum Pudding!? Yum! This sounds absolutely fantastic!


i think i’ll buy the whole cake.


Yeah, this is definitely going on my ‘wish list’… I’m just staring at it on the site right now. lol

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Finishing off my sample of this, swiped from the Here’s Hoping teabox!

Man, being sick sucks, but my yixing pot is loving it! I’ve been steeping pu’er for like 3 days and the pot isn’t flavor sucking now. My yixing pot is having a grand time spending time with me, with the other pots getting all jealous.

Man, this is good, I could buy more of this pu’er. Maybe next Mandala order!

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Oh man, this is good!

I snagged this tea out of the Here’s Hoping Teabox. This pu’er is really mellow with a sweet cedar taste end of sip. There is a lingering aftertaste of earthy that is really good. No fermentation taste, not mushroomy or smokey. I could be convinced to buy a cake of this, crap, and I just did a Mandala order too. Oh well, next order then.

My husband (he doesn’t like tea) said this one tastes like overly strong chinese restaurant tea. LOL


I just started on a brewing of this Friday and on a cup now. Is there a government conspiracy or something I need to know about? LOL!


The 2010 version of this tea got me started into puerh.

Oolong Owl

I’m still working on this pu’er, it just keeps going with just slight changes to flavor. Yeah, for my first shu cake I was eyeing all Menghais – this one, the purple rhyme and a yellow 100g one, and I ended up with the yellow one, kinda wish I got all 3 lol! (I still need to try the yellow one)

Terri HarpLady

I’ve been eyeing the 3 pack… And the patty cake II … And….


Menghai is pretty good tea. They take a lot of steps to insure their product is not “forged”. If you need any tips or help hit me up I have a small puerh stock and may be able to direct you to some good ones.

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My first whole pu’er cake! Woot woot!

This cake is gorgeous! Dark reddish brown in color, nice and tightly pressed. There is a nice, not overly powerful dirt/woodsy smell coming from the cake. Yum.
Carefully broke off a bit of the leaves with my pick; this one flakes apart pretty easily and is nice and dry. The sound the pick makes as it goes into the cake is so relaxing (maybe that’s an odd thing to say, but I couldn’t help thinking it). Love that sound.

Once I brewed this one up, it produced a dark red-brown liqour. It smells sweet, cedar-y, and woodsy with hints of a rich soil. I think I’m really going to love this one (good thing, too, since I have a whole cake!).

Yum. This one is sweet (not fruit sweet, but the kind of sweet you get from chewing on a popsicle stick – if that makes sense to anyone), with wood notes (again, I want to say cedar) and a nice mellow “dirt” taste. This has a thicker mouthfeel than some other pu’er I’ve had recently – it’s nice and smooth. There’s a bit of a zing at the end of the sip, slightly spicy on the back of the tongue. Don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a nice effect.

Glad I took the plunge and bought a cake of this one. I’m really enjoying it! Can’t wait to share with my twin sister when she comes home. She’s really into pu’er…it seems to be the only tea I can get her excited for! She’ll totally love this one. Thanks for providing this cake Mandala Teas!

I want to try this one in the gaiwan next time around.

Off to resteep. I’ll update in a few.

UPDATE: Second steep at about 6 min. A little thinner (not by much, though) than the first steep. Still has a wonderfully woody/sweet flavor with the added bonus of a slightly leathery flavor! The zing at the end of the sip is dialed down a bit, but still present. I’m loving this pu’er!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Mmmm, chewing on a popsicle stick! Memories of early elementary school trips to the local zoo!

Emily M

Ah…childhood memories. =)
Glad somebody else knew what I was on about.

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Appearance: woody black pu-erh chips off a larger brick
Aroma when Dry: sweet, nutty cocoa earthy, floral notes
After water is first poured: tart, sour, earthy,
At end of first steep: sour, peaty
Tea liquor:
At first?
At end of steep: hints of clay red
Staple? No
Preferred time of day: unsure
At first?: bitter, metallic tang, earthy notes
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, metallic notes

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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just had this one after drinking the 2009 version last night. this tea has really added a depth of flavor with another year under its belt. this cake is drier than the 2009 cake. much easier to break apart. not really much of an odor. no off smells on the dry cake. almost a dusty dirt road aroma. gave a 15 second wash. poured the first cup after a 15 second steep in the yixing. the color went from light to very dark at the end of the pour. the whole cup ended up looking like a strong cup of black coffee. rich and woody in the mouth with a sweetness at the end. very enjoyable on a cold windy winter night. very warming. second brew as dark as the first,yummy. now excuse me please i am off to enjoy the second cup and it looks like this will give at least 6 infusions as the 2009 did. gotta go tea awaits.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Nice late cup for you, must be staying up late!


yeah watching the tech game.


AH, priorities!


That means we drank the exact same batch of tea on the exact same day, my friend! That was my pre-meditation tea this morning!!! NICE!!!!


Sounds delicious!


garret that is awesome, and i drank mine to wind down and end the day!

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Thank you mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample

With Steepster down, I had time to reflect on some things that have been on my mind.

My writing has been slushy. You know…when I try to write and for whatever reason I just don’t sound like myself. I haven’t been able to figure out what’s wrong.

Sunday, I was invited to be in a Google+ live video tea group with people in various parts of the World. I was the least tea educated person, the dumb one in the group but ready to learn. Most of the others spoke Chinese, owned tea companies etc. As we discussed the tea of the week, I became sicker and sicker and almost had to sign off early. Something was wrong with me.

The rest of that day I had a terrible migraine that felt like the flu.
Monday came and Steepster was down. I had the flu-like symptoms still hanging on, coming and going with body aches and nausea.
What had caused my illness?
When I was on the chat Sunday I was sitting by a window with the curtains closed. However, there was still enough bright light outside that even though I was wearing my dark glasses, the light made me sick! Isn’t that crazy?

Why am I telling this story?

I was thinking last night about this time of year and writing about tea. I remembered that in the Winter when the barometer changes setting off my migraines almost every few days, I write more from the heart.
I see clearly, listen better, appreciate my time with tea in a deeper way. Life is more precious.

Could this be why I haven’t been myself? Did I need this malady to write better?

Embracing what is ahead with all it’s difficulties far outweighs the pain. My experience in the quiet places where there is true beauty, is why I began my journey with tea in the first place.

There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters.

I’m glad to return to the place of struggle even though I’m sure to complain now and then.

Tea Review

Timing and prep.
Gaiwan 4oz. 30 sec. rinse and 30 sec. steeps.

Wet leaf scent changes! Here’s what I like to do.
First, I put my nose over the rising steam and breathe it in and out, deeply.
Next, I put my nose closer and almost hyper-ventilate, then back away and come closer again.
Finally, I pass the leaves side to side at a distance of about
7 inches to catch a lighter scent.
I smell the leaf aroma hot, warm and cold.

These particular leaves smelled like Nilla Vanilla Wafers and Camphor then later like light Leather, Bread and Earth, then Light Leather and a Sweetness which is where it remained.

The first steeping was salty and tasted like a Trisket Crackers, not sweet but smooth. The finish had a little sour black current flavor.

The second steeping was strong, dark like coffee and tasted like cedar, rasins and velvety 90% chocolate. I was so intrigued by the idea of the chocolate that I sweetened the end of the tasting which didn’t mask the flavors but removed the bitterness almost entirely.

Steeping three was lighter with a salty/savory cedar flavor becoming peppery at the end and astringent. I was distracted by my own awareness of well-being. My nausea was gone and I was feeling such a great sense of gratitude for what this Pu-erh was giving to me.

Ah the forth steeping and beyond. This is where I believe the Pu-erh was at home. Lighter, sweeter with a cinnamon spicy taste and less cedar. There was so much light and smoothness here without having lost body.
At one point I added sweetening to see what would happen for those who sweeten Pu-erh and found that the flavor didn’t change
(some Pu-erh’s take on a floral or caramel taste with sweetening) but remained spicy.

A solid, recommended Pu-erh!

Personal Notes about Pu-erh:
I’ve found Pu-erh to be a faithful friend. Since my Migraines and Fibromyalgia both have chosen to attack my core more than anywhere else on my body, my stomach area is often twisted with nausea and pain. My back hurts and bones ache.
When I drink Pu-erh, the nausea and pain are greatly reduced without an upset stomach. Pretty wonderful benefit for me wouldn’t you agree!


Glad to hear you are doing better. If you like jasmine or chrysanthemum you should get some of each and use it when you are not feeling 100%. Really good and fragrant.

I love smelling my tea leaf dry, wet and in later steeps and love smelling the lid of the gaiwan. I had a similar ‘humbling’ experience with a few new friends. I tend to deeply exhale and then slowly breathing in the vapors from the gaiwan. And now I slurp… LOUDLY lol.

It is hard because must cultures slurping is a bad thing or just rude. But turns out it is pretty common in Asian cultures and it is the ‘proper way’ to taste. Do you do this?


Yes, in the tea world, slurping is correct…accepted and encouraged to get the tea to all the tastebuds (much like wine tasting which I was familiar with already). It’s the caffeine in Pu-erh and tea in general helps migraines.


Ah, well I hope you don’t have to go through that again. I don’t ever get headaches. And the only time I did it was a migraine (according to a doctor), due to excessive work, mental from (work), physical (from working out) and well lack of sleep. Not fun, I never though I would hiss at the sight of the sun. lol


Thanks JC I hope you stay well. Life is what it is.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I have migranes every day…but I also drink pu-erh every day, so sadly I don’t think that’ll help me. BOO! haha. Glad you’re feeling better! Did anything come in the mail lately from my side of the country that might make you feel better? :)


Bonnie I am happy you figured out the source of the problem. I am so sorry you were feeling down. Much love to you! I also can relate to how you felt in that group! The thing is your knowledge far surpasses mine on here haha its okay to be around those who have more knowledge! Without YOU I would not know as much as I do! :) xo


You’re very kind and always supportive Azz. Thank you. My point was that the down has meaning too…when I’m sick, I see things differently than when I’m well. As far as knowledge, we all have our own set of glasses…our own view and I learn from everyone. I think that I have the luxury of time. Not everyone has as much time as I do (or age!).


Sorry to read that you weren’t feeling well Bonnie, and I hope you get all better soon.
I sympathize with the nausea problems, I’ve had problems with my thyroid since my early 20s. It’s definitely changed my relationship to food and how much I appreciate being able to enjoy things when I feel well.
I agree that it’s nice to read everyone’s different perspective and views! I love all the different posts I get to read on Steepster.


Bonnie, I won’t say much beside what you already know: poeple here REALLY care, for the good and the bad stuff that’s happening to us all. What you said «There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters» is beyond wise… In this life, I find acceptance to be the hardest thing but it’s the beggining of all recoveries…
Having said that, no one should live in constant pain, and I wish peace for your mind and for your body…hugs xx


Steepster is the kindest village with the best neighbors. I wish we could have a big party and I could cook for you and invite you all for tea. You are the fresh ‘Spring Water’ that I make my tea with!


Bonnie, I won’t say much beside what you already know: poeple here REALLY care, for the good and the bad stuff that’s happening to us all. What you said «There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters» is beyond wise… In this life, I find acceptance to be the hardest thing but it’s also the beggining of all recoveries…
Having said that, no one should live in constant pain, and I wish peace for your body and soul…hugs xx

Terri HarpLady

A big hug for Ms Bonnie, & I hope you are feeling better. I struggled with migraines & other health issues for years, & in my case it turned out to be a whole bunch of food sensitivities. Once I got my eating straightened out, the migraines, immune problems, tendonitis, digestive issues, & various other aches & pains went away. All the things we go through, especially the painful ones, strengthen us in the long run, developing our character, but that doesn’t make it any more fun when we are suffering. Acceptance is the key, along with kindness to ourselves. Love & hugs, & your blog turned out beautifully!

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Thanks mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample!

A day at home with rain expected in the afternoon was the perfect setting for Pu-erh sipping with steeping multiple times.

As I made my preparations, I was suspended in a timeless space with the thrill, the drama of what was to happen next?

Basic Information
Steeping times: After a 30 second rinse, the steeping for the first 3 sessions was 30 seconds, the 4th was 1 minute.

The wet leaves smelled like sweet dark chocolate, then light leather with raisen and chocolate, then faint leather and sweet.

The color of the leaves changed at the end to dark Jade Green!

The color of the liquor was light brown on the first steeping becoming dark red brown on steeping 2 and 3, dark golden brown on steep 4.

The process of discovery was like a first date. The tea flirted a little, let me get just a hint of flavor to see if I’d respond. A bit of cedar, sweetness and some slight dryness on the tongue. Nothing to write home about but not scary either. Pretty smooth.
(The tea was obviously, holding back and waiting for the right moment to reveal it’s true personality.)

The second encounter was way more flirtatious, even sexy with a baked cedar plank dryness up front becoming smooth on the finish. There was another flavor lurking in the shadows, a secret.
Peach or Cocoa? I needed more time to inquire, to explore again.

The third encounter was not revealing. I sensed that something wasn’t right. The flavor was so much lighter. Wasn’t the water hot enough? Was the steeping too short? (I always blame myself, never the tea first!)

I decided to become bolder, demanding more now that we had spent considerable time together. I felt that we knew each other well enough. My instincts told me that if I pushed a little bit, there was great strength of character just under the surface.

I challenged the timing increasing it 3 fold.
The Pu-erh held steady without a flinch but it looked different.
The liquor had changed to golden brown and the leaves to jade green.

The flavor was supprisingly very mild, dry cedar, sweet, juicy and easy to drink.

Even with the mild dryness this was a smooth tea with no harshness.
I was expecting some sort of aggressive punch with the longer steep, but that’s not what this Pu-erh was about.

It was kind and mellow, sure to keep me happy for a long time.

(For any off-the-wall people who add sugar on occasion to pu-erh, well after the 4th steeping I checked it out and the caramel flavor that appears with sweetening is very nice!)

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I really want to order from Mandala sometime! The world of puerhs overwhelms me and I keep putting it off because I don’t know what to pick! :)


I love how mellow it is! Its quickly become my “study aid” tea


his is mild and not hard to handle at all. 30 second rinse and 30 second steep is fine. Not too strong, sweet and smooth. You are right tperez!


Great review, made me smile!


Thanks Claire.


always great reviews bonnie! glad you liked it. i think it is a superb tea.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Tea is quite the date, isn’t it? :D

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Sipping my first brew from my first pu’erh cake. No classes this afternoon, so I’m settling down with a good book and a kettle of water on the stove :)

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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This pu’erh was bolder in flavor and darker in color than the other samples. It also had considerably more of that pu’erh sweetness to it, and despite being bold it was still mellow. It had strong wood notes of cedar and oak, and also had a distinct “wild mushroom” flavor to it.

Overall I think seemed to be the finest and highest quality of the pu’erhs Mr. Mopar sent me


garret has some fine teas. the only bad thing is he is out of thisone:(. but yunnan sourcing usa has it in stock. garret sent me a sample of this and when i found out he was out i went n a 2 day quest to find and finally did,

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Got this with a sample from Garret at Mandala. Went to purchase after tasting it has blown me away I think this will put me on a quest to have at least two of these cakes one for now and one for later! The complexities are hard to describe, it has put me to find more! I am very pleased with this cake. Smooth mellow rich aromas with no young shu odor,one of the best I have had a chance to try! I think this one gets a 100 rating for me. be sure to steep multiple times.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec


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